Police in Colorado warn of fake violin scam

Scam alert graphic.
Scam alert graphic.(MGN/Pexels)
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 12:36 PM MDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 5:16 PM MDT
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EDGEWATER, Colo. (KKTV) - A police department in Colorado is warning the public about something they believe is a fake violin scam.

On Wednesday, the Edgewater Police Department shared the following message:

“Over the past year, police nationwide have issued warnings about people who are setting up outside of grocery stores or other retailers with a sign stating they need some help. Edgewater is no exception.

They’re playing the violin - or at least that’s what it looks like – and asking for donations. You may have heard them using a violin and a large speaker standing outside of either Target or King Soopers in the Edgewater Marketplace. One of our officers recently contacted a group and when they were asked to play a song, they were unable to play. We have also had reports of the music playing and then the want-to-be violinist stops playing and the music continues to play on the speaker.

They usually display themselves with a man and woman and sometimes children. They have a sign asking for help with paying rent and that they have recently lost their job. They have also been observed driving to and from the location in vehicles that have fictitious out-of-state license plates.

The City of Edgewater and the Edgewater Police Department understand there are those in need and our community has resources available for those that need them. The Edgewater Police Department wants to ensure that our residents and business owners are well informed before they donate their hard-earned money.”

Edgewater is to the west of Denver.

11 News has tried to track similar incidents in the Colorado Springs area. In the past, there have been people appearing to play the violin outside multiple grocery stores. Since 2016, 11 News has not been able to have a conversation with any person appearing to play the violin through a speaker outside of grocery stores. In each instance, the person either packed up and left as we tried to talk to them or informed us they didn’t speak English. On Thursday, 11 News viewers pointed us to several alleged musicians with a similar set up in the Colorado Springs area. Each time 11 News tried to make contact with the performers, they either refused to communicate, couldn’t speak English, and in one instance two people were angry we tried talking to them. If you are a musician who has performed in a similar manner outside of grocery stores in Colorado Springs, we encourage you to contact us.

The Edgewater Police Department isn’t the first law enforcement agency to issue a warning like this. Police in Maryland issued a similar public service announcement last year.

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